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Poem Dances

Two adaptable dance lessons for levels 1–8

by Pip Bayley, Dance Adviser to Schools, Massey University College of Education.

Exploring space and energy

The following poem and the associated movement activities can be adapted to suit students from level 1 to level 8.

Student’s introduction 

Dance the words in this poem and feel how the energy of the room changes.

Exploring space and energy

Shake the space

Jab the space

Push the space

Poke the space

Shatter the space

Tickle the space

Slash the space

Press the space

Swat the space

Dodge the space

Strike, shove, and squeeze the space

Caress, mooch, and mould the space

FREEZE in space.

Teacher’s guide 

Use this activity to:

  • physically warm and focus students for dance activity
  • increase students’ dance and language vocabulary
  • encourage students to develop their own ways of moving
  • develop student confidence in exploring movement and sharing the general dance space safely
  • practically explore action words through movement using a variety of energy levels and movement qualities.

Variation: Create your own class or group poems by replacing the action words with other action words.

Printing this lesson

To download and print this unit plan, select from Word or PDF formats:

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Shaping

This poem and the related learning activities could be used as a simple physical warm-up or developed into a larger unit of work. The activities can be adapted to suit students from level 1 to level 8.

Student’s introduction

Have fun moving this poem

Shaping

Stand in neutral

Stretch slowly into a shape

Curl into another

Now POP into a shape

Swing into another

Slash into a shape

Melt slowly into another

Spin into a shape

Jump into another

Slink into neutral

And relax.

Teacher’s guide

Learning activities using this poem may include:

  • asking the students to use different body parts, levels, size, or direction for each line of the poem
  • substituting selected words of the poem with other actions or qualities, such as ‘collapse’, ‘rise’, ‘breathe’, ‘pounce’, ‘shimmer’
  • exploring various ways of presenting the poem, such as:
    • as a pair activity
    • in small groups
    • two large groups (halve class) – moving on alternate lines of poem
    • moving from individual to group and back to individual
     
  • putting movement sequences developed from the poem to music
  • developing movement sequences from the poem and exploring various ways of structuring this movement material
  • performing actions or sequences as a canon, using call and response
  • adding a prop, sound effect(s) and/or body percussion to the movement sequences
  • sequencing and rehearsing movements or sequences as a continuous piece of dance work, for example setting the work to an appropriate piece of music (with no stopping between lines) and then performing the dance work for others in the class
  • performing the dance sequences developed from the poem in a different, confined, or unusual space
  • asking students to write their own poems, then create, rehearse, and perform their own poetic movement sequences.

Printing this lesson

To download and print this unit plan, select from Word or PDF formats:

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